The Eco-City, Dongtan

Posted on February 20, 2007. Filed under: Ecological, Environment, Future |

The opening of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai will mark the unveiling of the newly constructed eco-city of Dongtan. The first of four eco-cities to be built in China by Arup, Dongtan will be ecologically friendly, with zero greenhouse-emission transit and self-sufficient water and energy systems. The city is being designed around a series of village-style neighborhoods to make it pedestrian rather than car friendly. Dongtan will generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources, with zero emissions produced by the city’s vehicles. An energy centre will manage generation via wind turbines, bio-fuels and recycled organic material. A majority of Dongtan’s waste will be reused and organic waste will be composted or used as biomass for additional energy production. Human sewage will be processed for irrigation and composting, hence there will be no landfill waste sites. Phase one of Dongtan, a marina village with a population of 20,000, is scheduled for completion by 2010, while 80,000 people are expected to inhabit this bit of paradise by 2020.

+ [via thecoolhunter]

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Buy A Tree In Niger

Posted on February 19, 2007. Filed under: Africa, Environment, Niger, Trees |

Tree-Nation is a Barcelona-based entity that wants to plant 8 million trees in Niger, in the shape of a giant heart. Their hope is that this re-forestation campaign will help the environment and the people of the country.

They’re going about it the right way. People go to the site and peruse a mapping application to find the trees that have already been planted, and/or pick a spot for their tree. There are four types of trees to choose from, ranging from €10 – €75 each. The tree can be named and a message added that people viewing it later can read. Each tree purchase also comes with a “blog,” which is an area where the purchaser can talk about whatever they like, and others can comment. You can also link directly to your tree from another website.

The idea is great, although the execution so far is very rough. I was unable to buy a tree using my Visa card, although the site says they accept it. I was also unable to determine from their website if they are a for-profit or non-profit organization, whether a purchase is tax deductible, and other details which would make me more comfortable donating.

Tree-nation states quite clearly that they are in beta, though, and they are looking to hire a number of people to fill developer roles. If they fix the bugs and provide clearer messaging, this could be a really cool way for the tree hugger crowd to express themselves and do something to help others.

352 trees have been planted so far according to the site. They have a long, long way to reach their goal of 8 million trees. if they get there, It will be interesting to see if this shows up on satellite images of Niger (it should, it will be big enough).

+ Tree-Nation [via techcrunch]

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Turning Black Coal Green

Posted on February 18, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Environment, Power |

A radical new power plant aims to convert our dirtiest fossil fuel into clean-burning hydrogen.

Big lumps of sooty coal hardly seem like the future of energy, but that’s exactly what the U.S. Department of Energy predicts. Consumption of the fossil fuel—the main source of greenhouse gas and a major contributor to acid rain, smog and mercury poisoning—will hit 10.6 billion tons a year by 2030, a near doubling of the 5.4 billion tons burned in 2003, according to the agency.

But coal’s growing dominance need not spell doom for the environment, says Mike Mudd, a former manager of technology development at American Electric Power (AEP), one of the country’s biggest utilities. Mudd is now CEO of FutureGen, a $1-billion project sponsored by the DOE in partnership with 11 leading energy companies to build the first near-zero-emission coal plant by 2012. The 275-megawatt facility will serve as the model for a new generation of high-tech coal facilities.

+ Read more on Turning Black Coal Green [via popsci.com]

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